Will Your Estate Plan Work When Your Family Needs It?

Posted by Yuki Ku | Nov 16, 2023 | 0 Comments

Estate planning often feels like a task to check off your list. You might hire a lawyer or use online forms to create documents, file them away, and forget about it. But it's not a one-time thing.

Your plan won't work if you don't update it when your assets, family, or laws change. Neglecting updates can cause problems, leaving your family worse off than without a plan.

Here's a story about the consequences of not updating your plan, which led to the creation of our family-centered estate planning model.

A Realization That Changed Everything

When Ali was in law school, her father-in-law passed away. He had paid a law firm $3,000 for an estate plan to avoid probate and family conflicts. However, after his death, his family had to go to court and deal with his ex-wife's attorneys.

Ali couldn't understand why this happened when her father-in-law had a Trust to pass assets directly to his family. But some assets were never transferred to the Trust, and there was no updated inventory of his assets, making it hard for his family to know what he had. One of his accounts is still stuck with the Florida Department of Unclaimed Property.

Ali realized this wasn't malpractice; it was common practice in estate planning. So, when she started her own law firm, she committed to ensuring her clients' plans work when their families need them, building a service model around that mission.

Will Your Plan Actually Help Your Family When They Need It?

We often hear stories like this from our clients: A plan that used to work no longer does, and it's too late to fix it. To avoid this, we recommend reviewing your plan every year and updating it after major life events like divorce, births, deaths, or inheritances. Our systems ensure these updates happen for all our clients.

We're not just here for you; we're here for your whole family. We take the time to know your family members and involve them in the planning process. Everyone affected by your plan should understand your latest strategies and why you made those choices.

Unlike some firms that only work with part of the family, we believe in educating and engaging your loved ones. We can even arrange regular family meetings to keep everyone informed.

Built-In Systems to Keep Your Plan Up-to-Date

Our legal services aim to make estate planning easy for you and your family. Unlike lawyers who created Ali's father-in-law's plan, we don't just hand you documents and leave you to update them. We take care of it for you.

For instance, we have systems in place to prevent two common mistakes: not keeping a proper asset inventory and not correctly titling Trust assets. Maintaining an up-to-date list of your assets is crucial, and we'll help you create and maintain it.

You should also ensure assets like real estate, bank accounts, and securities are properly transferred to your Trust, known as "funding" the Trust. We not only handle this during Trust creation but also keep your assets correctly titled as you acquire new ones. This prevents asset loss and avoids court involvement due to an incomplete plan.

Family Comes First

With us as your Personal Family Lawyer®, we don't just create documents and leave you hanging. We build a lasting relationship with your family that spans generations.

We'll help you create a plan that keeps your family out of court and free from conflicts if something happens to you. Plus, we'll make sure your plan stays up to date so it's there for your family when you can't be. Contact us today to begin.

Let's Chat

This article is a service of Roots + Wings Legal, a Personal Family Lawyer® Firm. We don't just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That's why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session™, during which you will get more financially organized than you've ever been before and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by calling our office today to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session.

The content is sourced from Personal Family Lawyer® for use by Personal Family Lawyer® firms, a source believed to be providing accurate information. This material was created for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as ERISA, tax, legal, or investment advice. If you are seeking legal advice specific to your needs, such advice services must be obtained on your own separate from this educational material.

About the Author

Yuki Ku

Yuki Ku Chief Attorney Roots and Wings Legal Get In Touch Welcome to Roots and Wings Legal, where we are committed to helping you secure your family's future and ensure a smooth transition for your business. My name is Yuki Ku, and I am an estate planning attorney based in the vibrant San F...

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